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  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
After ten years and billions invested some in the Senate want alternatives to F-35

It's well known that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has turned into the most costly weapons program in history for the armed forces. When complete, multiple branches of the armed forces will use the F-35 and it will be sold abroad to allies.

The problem for some in Washington is that the delays in delivering the aircraft are mounting, as are the costs to build and maintain the aircraft over its lifespan. The F-35 program has been going for ten years now and some in the Senate Armed Services Committee are now indicating it's time to start looking for a backup plan. Most will find little sense in considering an alternative to the F-35 when it is finally so close to completion.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, "It seems to me [prudent that] we at least begin considering alternatives."

The reason some in the Senate want to start looking for alternatives is the report published last week showing the costs to maintain the F-35 through 2065 spiraling to $1 trillion. Top acquisition official Ashton Carter has maintained that the $1 trillion figure will be reduced when he completes a "should-cost" review of the F-35 in the next few months. Carter is aiming at a 20% to 50% reduction in that $1 trillion figure.

Christine Fox, Director of the Pentagon cost assessment and program evaluation office, is skeptical of the cost reduction goals.

Fox said, "O&S [operation and sustainment] is hard. Whether we can get it all the way down to legacy [O&S cost levels] is something that I in my office doubt.” Fox points to the cost of fuel being hard to reduce over the life of the aircraft.

Lockheed Martin's general manager for the F-35 program, Tom Burbage, says that the sustainment costs for the F-35 can’t be fairly compared to the costs of older aircraft. He says that the F-35 was developed on performance-based logistics plan that is different from legacy sustainment process. He also notes that the F-35 O&S estimates are susceptible to ground rules legacy aircraft are not bound to.

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F22 ?
By GruntboyX on 5/23/2011 1:00:53 PM , Rating: 3
Bring back the F22? Or is that too late?

RE: F22 ?
By icrf on 5/23/2011 1:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Different target uses. The F22 is a replacement for the high-end fighters like the Navy's F14 or Air Force's F15. The F35 is a replacement for more general use planes, like the Navy's F18 or Air Force's F16. The high-end aircraft are more capable and expensive to buy and operate. The F35 was supposed to be cheaper to allow much more widespread use.

RE: F22 ?
By Iaiken on 5/23/2011 1:33:53 PM , Rating: 3
The high-end aircraft are more focused and expensive to buy and operate.

Fixed that for you. The F22 does one thing only (air superiority) and it does that VERY well.

RE: F22 ?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: F22 ?
By corduroygt on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: F22 ?
By mcnabney on 5/23/2011 3:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason F35 numbers seem high is because of quantity. If we were making as many F22s as F35s the numbers would be in the trillions. F22 is far more expensive, per plane, which is why the production run of F22s was lowered.

F22 - 187 total production = total program cost $336M each
F35 - 2,442 (planned) = total program cost $156M each

RE: F22 ?
By Solandri on 5/23/2011 6:49:15 PM , Rating: 3
It's a little more complicated than that.

F22 total production cost: $65 billion
F22 amortized unit cost: $357.6 million (includes R&D)
F22 unit construction cost: $150 million (no R&D)
F22 R&D cost: ($65b - 187*$150m) = $37 billion

Projected cost for 2,442 F22s:
2442*$150m + $37b = $403 billion
Cost per F22 = $403b / 2442 = $165 million

Not that far off from the F35. (Damn, I had no idea the F35 had blown its budget this badly.)

RE: F22 ?
By Jedi2155 on 5/23/2011 11:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
I believe the per unit cost of the F35 is still around $80 million each but the R&D cost has already skyrocketed past the F-22 @ $56.4 billion.

The flyaway cost of a F22 is around $133 million so its still about $50 million/60% more....

RE: F22 ?
By Calin on 5/24/2011 3:25:49 AM , Rating: 2
The F-22 is probably too big to work on carriers, and it has no vertical landing capability (and quite a bit of the research costs of the F-35 went into the vertical take-off and landing capability and into carrier-borne versions)

RE: F22 ?
By eldakka on 5/24/2011 4:08:25 AM , Rating: 2
Just being devil's advocate here.

The R&D cost for the F22 of $37b was for a superiority fighter only.

To replace the F35 you'd have to add R&D costs for strike/ground attack and carrier operation capabilities.

However, at least you'd be adding R&D expense to an already proven aircraft....

RE: F22 ?
By JW.C on 5/29/2011 3:48:59 AM , Rating: 2
Just think, all they had to do was a few upgrade to the F-16. Throw in a better engine and some upgraded electronics and slap on some stealth paint! For the low low price of $20 million per copy you have a far better aircraft with a price that doesnt piss off the general population.

RE: F22 ?
By 91TTZ on 5/24/2011 12:11:42 PM , Rating: 3
You're thinking about the program costs backwards. You say, "The only reason F35 numbers seem high is because of quantity". You should be saying "The only reason F-22 numbers seem high is because of the low quantity built".

The F-35 was supposed to be the "cheap" complement to the F-22 in much the same way that the F-16 was the cheap complement to the F-15. It cost half as much as the F-15.

As it turns out, the F-35 didn't turn out to be much cheaper than the F-22. The unit cost is $150 million for the F-22 vs. 139 million for the F-35C.

RE: F22 ?
By marvdmartian on 5/23/2011 3:39:31 PM , Rating: 1
Absolutely. Or do a minor re-design to make it more capable of an attack mode, and call it an F/A-22.

RE: F22 ?
By TSS on 5/23/2011 4:49:45 PM , Rating: 5
The difference between the 2 craft is that the maximum that the F22 can carry is about 2 1000 pound JDAM bombs against ground targets.

The F35 can carry 8 2000 pound bombs.

Not to mention that the F35 is actually cheaper.

You have the F22 for Air to Air. You have the F35 for Air to ground. You have the A10 for close air support. You have the B52 for anything the F35 can't carry. And that's it, you don't need any more planes since those can fill all roles found in the airforce. Mass produce the parts, making it all cheap.

Atleast that was the plan. It's ending up to be more expensive and too complex. But honestly it's comparable to Windows Vista. The F15-16-18 combined where Windows XP, the best fighters your airforce has ever seen, but still based on legacy principles. The F22 and F35 are like Vista, a huge time and money investment into something large and complex using the latest and greatest that isn't all that much better then what you had, considering the cost.

What it will lead to though, is Windows 7, or the 6th generation fighters that'll be as streamlined as the 5th but cost even less then the 4th to make, while beeing even more robust.

However it won't do that if politics keeps backing out and changing the rules. The only alternative to the F35, at best, is skipping the 5th and moving to 6th generation fighter/bombers.

If you have to buy planes from the ruskies their going to laugh their asses off. Especially since you already have to buy trips into space from them.

RE: F22 ?
By Calin on 5/24/2011 3:27:09 AM , Rating: 2
The A-10 is on its way out of the Air Force

RE: F22 ?
By Chernobyl68 on 5/24/2011 2:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm holding out hope they'll find a way to keep that aircraft and its unique capabilities. No other plane in the world does what it can do.

RE: F22 ?
By JW.C on 5/29/2011 3:57:27 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see how they can retire it since they don't have anything thats even close to filling the same mission. Oh and lets not forget how dang close to un-killable the A-10 is.

RE: F22 ?
By random git on 5/24/2011 6:02:30 AM , Rating: 2
Do you think those four planes can really carry out all the roles in the air force? If so, you might want to tell them to get rid of their RC-135s, E-3s, E-7s, EC-130s, KC-135s, C-130s, RQ-4s, MQ-9s etc etc.

That said there is a lot I agree with you, but I doubt any future high tech airplanes are going to be cheap.

RE: F22 ?
By Raiders12 on 5/24/2011 7:34:39 AM , Rating: 2
Even after a lessons learned from the F22 and F35 programs, the 6th gen fighter, will still be a government acquisition program, which will by default have costs blown out of proportion. Its just the way they set themselves up for failure with its pseudo endless back acct, and contracting rules. I imagine a long drawn out contract battle between companies for the next fighter program...

RE: F22 ?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/24/2011 8:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
The difference between the 2 craft is that the maximum that the F22 can carry is about 2 1000 pound JDAM bombs against ground targets.

Afraid your data isn't correct. The F-22 has been tested with external weapon pylons back when Lockheed proposed the F-22B (bomber). The hardpoints are already built into the wings and centerline for bolting on weapon racks, just like the F-15. When stealth isn't required, it can be every bit the bomb truck that the F-15 Strike Eagle is.

Stealth is only important for "first in" scenarios. Once all air power and ground to air threats are suppressed, switch to external stores and bombs away.

Not to mention that the F35 is actually cheaper.

It is? Not from what I'm reading.

RE: F22 ?
By inperfectdarkness on 5/25/2011 8:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
um, no. not by a mile.

perhaps those are the only KINETIC COMBAT aircraft that are needed in the USAF (if you discount the b1/b2); but it is NOT all the aircraft/roles needed.

you need tankers, surveillance, c2, etc. there's a LOT more to the puzzle than just some fighters/bombers.

RE: F22 ?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/24/2011 12:21:47 PM , Rating: 1
How in the hell does pointing out that we can bolt on a AN/AAS-35(V) Pave Penny or a ASQ-228 ATFLIR, TIALD, and LANTIRN to an F-22 earn someone a -1 on here?

RE: F22 ?
By Manch on 5/23/2011 1:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, it's quickly becoming just as expensive. At the same price it would be better to have more F-22's. 185 22's isnt sufficient considering it's supposed to replace the F-15. Of course those production lines are shutting down or have already. Some inCongress tried to push thru an order of a few more jets to keep the lines open and give us the option to buy more. Now, it would cost more to bring it back up. The F-35 program biggest issue is it's trying to be something for everybody, and despite the best intentions by some to keep prices in check, anything done thru the government with all it's red tape can never escape ballooning costs.

RE: F22 ?
By FITCamaro on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: F22 ?
By Ushio01 on 5/23/2011 2:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
Er only 1020 F15's were built for the US airforce hardly thousands and some of that number were replacement for attrition.

RE: F22 ?
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2011 5:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry I forgot to say the F16s as well.

RE: F22 ?
By andre-bch on 5/23/2011 5:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
F-22s aren't supposed to replace F-16s.

RE: F22 ?
By andre-bch on 5/23/2011 3:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
Currently, there are only 267 F-15C/D planes in service.

RE: F22 ?
By yomamafor1 on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: F22 ?
By Jeffk464 on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: F22 ?
By Nfarce on 5/23/2011 7:49:38 PM , Rating: 3
1) As an American, I take pride in our military aviation technology. It will be a cold day in hell before I support us buying

2) The F/A-18 went head to head as the YF-17 with the F-16 program back in the early 70s. The USAF chose the F-16 and canned the YF-17 design. The Navy picked up that design and made some minor modifications to become the Hornet. The only thing the Navy has now beyond that is the E/F Super Hornet model which is really nothing more than the same airframe about 33% larger with some new engines and aero changes. Now why would the USAF want to go back to a design they rejected 35 years ago?

RE: F22 ?
By Nfarce on 5/23/2011 7:53:16 PM , Rating: 2
Oops - got cut off on the first point:

It will be a cold day in hell before I support us buying Eurofighters. But at the rate our education system continues to fail us, we may have no longer have engineers left to build cool new stuff in a generation or two.

RE: F22 ?
By random git on 5/24/2011 6:05:54 AM , Rating: 2
If you are comparing the viability of fighter jets based solely on airframe characteristics, you are seriously doing something wrong. Block II super hornet would murder any F-16 flying 1v1.

RE: F22 ?
By Iaiken on 5/24/2011 11:40:15 AM , Rating: 2
What's more, the airframe of the F/A-18 Super Hornet has almost nothing in common with the original F-18 once you are back of the forward fuselage.

The aircraft is larger, the geometry of the intakes, wings and leading edge extensions are different, the cant and location of the vertical stabilizers are different, the internal structure is contains fewer parts and dramatically fewer structural connections (allows for greater structural stability and strength). Additional hard-points, advanced avionics packages and and increased gross takeoff weight are the last elements that make the F/A-18 is a totally different beast than it's predecessor.

Alternatives to the F-35
By rothiri on 5/23/2011 1:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
The F-35 had to be chosen in the first place, and as someone mention they wanted one aircraft for all branches. BTW - this "most expensive" in history - is that comparison in today's dollars for all programs? - otherwise the current program will almost always turn out to be the most expensive.

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By Belard on 5/23/2011 1:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yep.... in consideration...

Would it be more expensive to have 3 different designs for 3 branches or 1.5 basic design for 3 branches.

The F35B (VTOL) is being considered for cancellation. The British already canceled their order of F35B and switched to F35C. Why? Costs.

Only the Marines will be using the B-type, but is it really needed? Costs vs value? A VTOL fighter is handy, because it can land pretty much anywhere, which is why the Marines want and need it. Helicopters are easier to work in such environments.

It was the B-type that effected the overall designed of the F35 and caused delays and more costs.

What alternatives are there? Start from scratch?
Only thing realistic is to continue building new F15, F16, F18 and A10s. Their designs are still top of the line, for 30~40 year old tech.

PS: I still don't see how the F35 is supposed to "replace" the A10.

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By erikstarcher on 5/23/2011 1:54:47 PM , Rating: 4
Nothing can replace the A-10. Just keep refurbing the old ones. That Warthog is a beast.

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By shadowamazon on 5/23/2011 2:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
No need for the stealth neither when your enemy can see and hear you coming. Leave the A-10 Alone.

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By chiadog on 5/23/2011 6:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
The plane fills such a unique role that I cannot fathom how the brasses think they can ever replace with expensive* F35s. A10s are as close as we ever gotten to a flying tank. Keep those old birds flying!

*I wanted to say fragile too, but can't make that claim yet. Then again, every plane is fragile compared to the ol' warthog.

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By 91TTZ on 5/23/2011 3:29:26 PM , Rating: 1
Another thing to keep in mind is that the US Navy is heavily investing on smaller helicopter carriers like the Wasp class and the upcoming America class.

These ships can only carry helicopters and STOL aircraft like the Harrier. An F-18 or F-35C won't be able to take off or land from these ships. If you cancel the F-35B, then what about the ships that are planned that depend on these aircraft?

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By mcnabney on 5/23/2011 3:50:47 PM , Rating: 3
I guess we will have to get by with a dozen carriers.

Seriously, we can't afford to buy something to exactly fill each contingency. If that means we won't have VTOL assets, oh well. We have carriers, hundreds of forward bases, and tankers. Someone should have thought of this before wasting money on a niche function for an attack plane.

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By 91TTZ on 5/24/2011 11:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, I don't think the problem is that they decided to build a new line of useful small carriers that need STOL aircraft, I think the problem is that people should have thought of this when they decided that one aircraft design can replace various specialized aircraft such as the A-10, the F-16, the Harrier, etc.

It's like trying to design one tool that can replace a pipe wrench, a hammer, and needle nose pliers. You're forced to add such complication and make such serious compromises that the final result is expensive and less than optimal for any task. They could have saved a lot of money by designing much cheaper, specialized aircraft to fill these roles.

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By DougF on 5/23/2011 4:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
It's going to be interesting to see what the fix will be to keep the carrier decks from melting under the F-35Bs during VTOL operations...

RE: Alternatives to the F-35
By Azsen on 5/24/2011 2:08:25 AM , Rating: 2
I have a feeling that the America Class is exactly what is used in Battlefield 2. Has the F-35Bs, AH-1Z Vipers and MH-60S Knighthawks.

By inperfectdarkness on 5/25/2011 8:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
what mccain doesn't account for is that if you scrap the program & look at alternatives; you're stuck with existing tech. you can't scrap a program of this magnitude (a decade+ in R&D) and then start a new one from scratch and expect to save any $$$.

so realistically, the choice here is between keeping existing technology fighters for the next ~50 years...or push forward with f-35's.

now i don't know about you, but i'm not comfortable with our prospects of air-superiority in the next 50 years if we're going to keep using airframe designs that will be 80 years old at that point. maybe that works for heavies--but not fighters.

No surprise...
By Amiga500 on 5/23/2011 1:08:51 PM , Rating: 1
But they've shafted themselves by insisting on a single aircraft for all needs... and choosing Lockheed Martin for both.

The F-16 had the F-15 and F-14 to keep it honest; even though they were intended for very different purposes, failure on the part of one design team would lead to a loss of orders to a competitor. Now? Nothing.

Lockheed have the US government over a barrel and no mistake.

If the rulemakers were smart, they'd forget about the JSF and jump straight to the paradigm shift that will occur (rendering the JSF, F-22, PAK-FA etc obsolete) when Directed Energy Weapons are suitable for in-service use. Can't see them ever thinking that far ahead though.

RE: No surprise...
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2011 2:37:27 PM , Rating: 3
The US is the only known nation that has a nearly working directed energy weapons system near completion. Why would we be planning to defend against ourselves.

And the F-16 was built in a time when we didn't have skyrocketing entitlement costs. I wish we had more jets to compete with the F-35. But do you really think the Pentagon would be able to develop multiple jets. Thanks to liberals, we're forced to put all our eggs in one basket for cost reasons. And like any other complex system, things never go according to plan.

The F16 was built in an era when computers were the size of buildings. The F35 has thousands of times more computing power. Thus it requires software to be written to use all that computing power. And software development never goes as smoothly as hardware development. Add to that the fact that the F-35 is the first jet of its kind in terms of how it operates. There is a learning curve that comes with that.

RE: No surprise...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: No surprise...
By Amiga500 on 5/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: No surprise...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/23/2011 4:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
Your imagination.

RE: No surprise...
By bug77 on 5/23/2011 3:11:14 PM , Rating: 2
He he, there was a time when the US could go something like this.
Nukes? We'll build them. Planes to break the sound barrier? Sure, why not? A rocket to go to the moon? Of course!

Back then, it was easy, since you had actual jobs in the US. Now the jobs are in China and Hollywood gets to put people in jail.
One thing leads to another...

RE: No surprise...
By Amiga500 on 5/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: No surprise...
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2011 5:28:53 PM , Rating: 3
You seriously know absolutely nothing.

RE: No surprise...
By gamerk2 on 5/23/2011 3:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
For the record, the F15/F16 was meant to be as follows:

1: Expensive F15 as Air Superiority Fighter [Air Force/Navy]
2: Cheap F16 for multipurpose needs [Air Force/Marines]

Of course, the Navy wasn't sold on the F15, and walked away to make the F18 instead [Basically, an Interceptor that also had the F16's multirole capabilities]

Fast foward 30 years:

1: Expensive F22 as Air Superiority Fighter [Air Force]
2: Cheap F35 for multipurpose needs [Air Force/Navy/Marines]

Same EXACT program ideology, only the Navy didn't walk away this time to fund its own plane.

The main issue is cost overruns and lack of accountability, not the overall program direction, or "liberals". After all, the Defense budget is higher then its ever been.

RE: No surprise...
By wiz220 on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: No surprise...
By FITCamaro on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: No surprise...
By SPOOFE on 5/23/2011 6:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
the defense industry is the biggest entitlement program out there

Defense budgets are argued and debated, often vociferously, every single year. Senators scramble for cash, companies scramble for answers, lobbyists scramble for support. You may not like that they're so influential, but there's nothing "entitled" to Defense: They're constantly at a gallop to keep their funding.

Conversely, SS entitlements were set in stone almost a century ago and continue to be mindlessly paid out, with nary a whisper of protest except from the instantly-marginalized.

Yeah... Defense is the problem.

RE: No surprise...
By Nfarce on 5/23/2011 7:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
You tell me how the military is an "entitlement program" and I'll tell you how something like social security is great to depend on for our retirement.

RE: No surprise...
By chiadog on 5/23/2011 6:18:35 PM , Rating: 1
But they've shafted themselves by insisting on a single aircraft for all needs...

Exactly what I was thinking. The idiom "too many cooks spoil the broth" comes to mind. Different services have different needs, and funneling them into a single platform only drives up cost and development time. Total cost of ownership may be less, but you end up with a checklist plane that is overbuilt for their intended purpose. F35 replacing A10 warthogs? Not a chance.

RE: No surprise...
By SPOOFE on 5/23/2011 6:52:54 PM , Rating: 2
The idiom "too many cooks spoil the broth" comes to mind.

What do you think "not enough cooks" causes?

RE: No surprise...
By inperfectdarkness on 5/25/2011 8:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
sounds like the f-111 all over again. history repeats itself?

By integr8d on 5/23/2011 12:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
Does that word have to be used EVERYWHERE?

What's wrong with Operation & Maintenance? It's like someone, somewhere passed out a decree that every word with a definition similar to 'sustainable' had to be replaced with that word.

The general of the Green Army must be pleased.

By Gzus666 on 5/23/2011 1:19:30 PM , Rating: 1

Sadly, this is becoming a reality. It appears some people read 1984 as a "how-to" instead of a warning. It is the little things, change them here and there, no one notices.

By drycrust3 on 5/23/2011 2:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Seems just like some sort of marketing jargon. What does "sustainment" mean?

By SPOOFE on 5/23/2011 6:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
Why are you guys against moving forward with progress? The People have the right to know!

The F-111!!!
By DougF on 5/23/2011 1:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
Bring back my babies--give up on this "stealth" crapola.
1) Upgrade engines for beter reliability and sortie duration
2) AESA radar
3) LIGHTNING pods to replace the PAVE TACK system
4) Other upgrades, etc.

RE: The F-111!!!
By Lemonjellow on 5/23/2011 2:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
Hell if we are going to go that route to save money, why not just refit, update, and return to service some of the 1000's of late model Phantom II's mothballed out in the desert...

RE: The F-111!!!
By DougF on 5/23/2011 4:48:52 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, sorry...they've been mostly turned into drones for air to air intercept training. In fact, they are now transitioning into the QF-16 drones...

We need to make the X-Wing
By quiksilvr on 5/23/2011 1:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's the logical choice here, people.

RE: We need to make the X-Wing
By SPOOFE on 5/23/2011 7:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
They're having trouble building the necessary R2 units.

RE: We need to make the X-Wing
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2011 9:06:23 PM , Rating: 1
Actually I'm thinking he's referring to the jet from X-Men.

By btc909 on 5/23/2011 1:49:41 PM , Rating: 1
Ehhhh just do what everyone else does here in America, buy planes from China. Us Walmartians buy everything from China anyways.

RE: Walmart
By Jeffk464 on 5/23/2011 5:23:35 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah that's what I said, the Chinese j-10 could probably drop bombs as well as an f16.

RE: Walmart
By Jeffk464 on 5/23/2011 5:27:59 PM , Rating: 1
Or how about a saab gripen.

RE: Walmart
By inperfectdarkness on 5/25/2011 8:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
yes, that's a teriffic idea.

let's buy planes from a COMMUNIST AUTOCRACY whose production plants have a history of producing lead-painted children's-toys, faulty integrated-circuits, and electronics which blow up spontaneously. not to mention their storied record of cyber-attacks in recent years.

i'm sure nothing could go wrong with this equation. i'm sure china would be happy to deliver us parts/airframes in the midst of open conflict with us. i'm certain they would NEVER booby-trap the electronics on their jets to mysteriously "fail" at a completely critical point when we needed them the most.

most of all, i'm sure that the j-10, cloned from the lavi, cloned from the f-16 is somehow FAR, FAR superior to our feeble attempt at creating an f-35.


Good Direction.
By Amedean on 5/23/2011 1:01:08 PM , Rating: 1
I think that it is good for legislators to show the defense industry that we are not bound to their broken promises. I am skeptical of how the F22 and YF23 competition was conducted forcing the government to commit so much resources to an unfinished product. The prototype was practically made in a relative short period of time but as soon as Lockheed won the competition bid, it seems their commitment went down hill because they won the bid. There was not enough competition to pressure Lockheed after an early commitment and now here we are with the program dragging its feet as the cost quotes get higher and higher.

RE: Good Direction.
By FITCamaro on 5/23/2011 2:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
As I've said many times. Blame the bidding process, not the contractor.

These things are always bid at "if everything goes f*cking perfect this is what'll cost". Which it never even comes close to.

RE: Good Direction.
By kattanna on 5/23/2011 2:31:51 PM , Rating: 1
all this is is more election year political theater.

do you really think that a program this far along would get cut in favor a something brand new and not even talked about yet? LOL no.

no, this is nothing more then politicians looking to try to portray themselves as fiscally concerned. remember, this is also the same congress that was trying to add cost to this very program via a alternate engine program the military itself didnt want.

once elections are over, this will quietly fade into the background, like the rest of their political theater issues they are suddenly inventing right now.

By andre-bch on 5/23/2011 3:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
What alternatives?

Dropping F-35 and going forward with F-16 and F-18? I'm not sure if they can keep up with upcoming chinese and russian planes.
UAVs? They not there yet. It'd take years before any kind of UAV can fully replace a manned plane.

What else is there? IMO F-35 program should go on. There is no other choice at this stage.

RE: alternatives?
By Jeffk464 on 5/23/2011 5:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
No you miss the point, we definitely need to have the best air superiority fighter and a certain number of stealth bomb trucks. That being said there is still a place for less sophisticated bomb trucks.

By tng424 on 5/23/2011 4:35:17 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not in the US and I'm not involved with the aircraft industry but in shipbuilding. In shipbuilding, in spite of the fact that labour costs are HIGHER in Japan than in the US ( you need to look at total costs per man including social security/ pension costs), Japanese shipbuilding costs are about half what they are in the US. This is largely down to superior management expertise. When we look at Korean or Chinese costs they are much further ahead still. I cannot imagine that the situation is significantly different in the aircraft industry. Yes, the US is far ahead of the opposition in technology but from where I sit, given the size of the American deficit, you are in danger of doing to yourselves what Reagan managed to do to the Soviets, getting them to spend themselves to death. Having the best aircraft is not the same as having the most effective airforce given that money, even in the US, does not grow on trees. The only winner out of this is Lockheed Martin.

RE: F22
By FITCamaro on 5/23/11, Rating: 0
no real need
By Seagrave on 5/23/2011 10:07:38 PM , Rating: 3
they dont build planes to counter planes anymore.. our old F's, A's, and B's already are superior to most planes other countries possess. we fight defenses, so we always want to push stealth, yet stealth planes are being phased out before they reach full deployment. F22 wha? we dont need new planes as much as we spend for them, the F22s would have fit the needs, barring vtol and stol. with current war structure,

we don't need single all doing aircraft.

we use guided missle tech to destroy hardened defenses, old stealth tech to destroy infrastructure and very old tech (b52) to lay the smacketh down, as we have planned and tested for the past 3 decades. we crow about new badass fighters(f22) yet replace them before they see any real service. f15s are slowly phasing out, but are not gone, neither are f16s. we bring in planes that are needless due to organization and truly effective tech we already have. even planes who are almost all older then their pilots still serve use.

i remember the navy tried to extend the service life of the f14 by proving its value as an attack fighter. yet the f18 already in force was all we needed. now the want stealthy carrier based planes, yet nothing moves forward without the airforce, so we always will have f117 and f22 on hand ready to deal with all the threats currently out there.

we need better anti missile tech, and better threat detection, not trillion dollar jets that spin training sortee after sortee, while workhorses do the dirty work.

Bring the F-32!!!
By granma on 5/23/2011 1:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
Bring the F-32!!!

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